Miolea Organic Farm

  (Adamstown, Maryland)
Organic Farming from a City Boy's Perspective
[ Member listing ]

Contrast Personified

Fer Coadee - A tale of two dogs

It was the dog days of August.  I was in the barn fixing the lawn mower and Coadee was outside sitting in the shade under the black walnut tree.  The temperature was in the high nineties with typical Maryland humidity.  I have sweat streaming down my face and into my eyes, making them sting.  The reason I had this task was that I accidentally drained the lawn mower battery.  It does not matter how the battery totally discharged, you only need to know I was involved.  I had re-charged the battery and was hooking the thing back up to test.  

I tried to turn the mower on only to hear the soothing sounds of chickens laying eggs, not the start of an engine.  The battery was not going to take a charge.  Not to worry, I have done this before so I have a spare battery.  I hooked the trickle charger up to the spare and after twenty-four hours no, that too did not work either.

So here, I am installing a newly purchased battery and out of the corner of my eye, I see a chicken where it should not be.  I am wet, my eyes burn, I am close to finishing the install and Coadee is sitting under the walnut tree.  Per routine, I scolded the chicken for being out of the pen and told it to get back and true to form, it did not listen.  No problem, I will call Coadee and she can pick her up and take her back to the pen.  

I called for Coadee.  She looked towards me acknowledging my beckoning.  I said "Coadee, chicken, get the chicken".  She does not move she just gives me that look.  If you own a dog, you know the look.  It is a look of “Yes, I hear you but no, you do not have anything close to interesting enough for me to come”.  I called again she got up on all fours.  Okay, now the chicken will learn to get back when I tell her too.  However, Coadee is still standing, so I call her again.  I watched as she took a step and turned to her right walking towards the garage bay.  I called her name with a little more force with the command to come.  Coadee continued to saunter towards the garage.  Not only am I being ignored, apparently my presence is no longer of interest. 

Okay, I need to pull out the buzzwords now, so I whistle and say, “Come Coadee lets go to work”, which usually brings her.  At that moment, she picks up her gate to a trot, rounds the corner of the garage and is gone.  To say I was stunned is understating what I had just witnessed.  I am starting to think a calculating dog just ignored me.  It looked like Coadee weighed the situation, figured it was hot enough without chasing a chicken and I was there so everything was a okay.  Is this what they mean by the dog days of summer?  Well, I picked the chicken up marched it back to the pen and placed her inside.  I fixed the mower and went about other chores. 

Later in the day, I was stowing the garden hoses we use to deliver water to our irrigation zones when I heard a ruckus by the chicken pen.  It was an unusual sound so I turned and looked to see a brown flash flying from my right to left.  My heart sank, I ran around the silo to get a better look at what flashed past my eyes.  It was what I feared, a brown tail hawk swooping down to get a chicken.  It was in flight going away from the pen.  I looked at the hawks talons and much to my relief did not see any bird.  What I heard and saw next surprised me.  I turned to see Coadee full stride running past the chickens to where the hawk had flown.  The hawk landed on a branch at the very top of a tree.  Coadee was below and barking up at the predator.  

I guess the hawk did not like the attention because it quickly flew off to the east.  Coadee gave chase.  Once the hawk was out of sight Coadee patrolled the area looking up in the sky for the danger.  At one point, the hawk was visible and heading east away from the house.  That did not stop Coadee from running after to see what the hawk was doing.  Once the hawk was far enough away, Coadee came back and stayed vigilant watching 360 degrees of sky.

It was amazing to see those farm dog instincts going to work.  She was all business and determined to keep an eye on the hawk until the hawk did not pose a direct threat.  For the hawk’s part, it just kept flying east towards easier prey I guess.

It was a moment when a little smile comes to your face, because you have witnessed something special.  Having seen the lazy dog that morning and the fer coadee (Scottish for protector) this afternoon was definitely a contrast personified. 

Buy Local: Its safe, fresh, healthy food and your money stay’s local

 

Tags:
 
 

Organic is cheaper when you take Pollution into account

Recently there was as a study published by a Stanford researcher about the merits of organic versus conventional food.  Specifically the study looked at the vitamin and mineral content of fruits and vegetables and the cost difference between organic and conventional food.  Although there are studies that refute these findings: University of Washington,  http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0012346 , http://www.bioneers.org/programs/food-farming-1/articles-interviews/organic-food-has-a-higher-nutrient-content-an-interview-with-charles-benbrook  and http://www.cnn.com/2009/HEALTH/06/16/best.organic.produce/index.html I tend to stay away from all of the back and fourth and look at the undisputed facts.

First, conventional food contains trace amounts of carcinogenic chemicals http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/172223 .  Trace amounts that are allowed per FDA, USDA and EPA standards.  Yet every year we find that what was once approved is now harming us.  Diactyl and Bisphenal-A (BPA) are the most recent that come to mind.  Diactyl causes lung cancer, which is a fact.  However, for years it was allowed in the food supply particularly in butter-flavored popcorn and other foodstuffs.  That is until people started getting lung cancer due to build up of Diactyl in the body.  Then there is BPA.  BPA is an endocrine disrupter and is shown to cause birth defects in children and hinder their mental development.  Recently studies have shown that BPA is narrowing arteries in adults.  The list of approved then disapproved fungicides, insecticides, additives and preservatives just keeps growing.   

Second, there is the environmental detriment big industrial farms create while they produce all of the meats, eggs, fruits and vegetables.  One example is Atrazine, an herbicide.  Atrazine has been linked to castrating bullfrogs and feminizing bass http://www.sfgate.com/green/article/Study-says-herbicide-causes-frogs-sex-change-3197878.php .  Yet it is still in use. 

I would like to point out that there is a distinction between local conventional farmers and the big industrial corporate farms and imports.  Our local farmers feed their family with the products they grow and produce.  Their children and grandchildren play in the fields and water on the property.  I know these farmers are much more judicious when it comes to using fungicides, insecticides and herbicides.  I feel comfortable buying my sweet corn from Mayne’s Tree Farm or fruit from Bob Black at Catoctin Mountain Orchard.    

Then there is the cost argument.  What consumers do not take into account with conventional costs is that they pay for cleaning up the environment through their taxes not through the price of conventional food.  With organic and sustainable farm practises, the cost of environmental protection and rejuvenation is built into the price of the product. 

Your tax dollars go to environmental protection, clean up and rejuvination of our waterways and fields because of industrial farming practises.  Environmental degradation from industrial farms have been well documented.  So when they say conventional food is cheaper they are not telling you about these hidden costs.  Ultimately, sustainable organic food is cheaper, safer and an environmentally sound agricultural practice.

Organic food does not have trace amounts of carcinogenic chemicals, steroids, hormones or anti-biotic's.  That is fact.  Conventional food does contain trace amounts of most synthetic substances used in the production process and these trace amounts are not being processed out of the body like we are told.  "Canadian researchers this year reported that the blood of 93 percent of pregnant women and 80 percent of their umbilical cord blood samples contained a pesticide implanted in GMO corn by the biotech company Monsanto, though digestion is supposed to remove it from the body.  "Given the potential toxicity of these environmental pollutants and the fragility of the fetus, more studies are needed," they wrote in Reproductive Toxicology".  http://www.chicagotribune.com/health/ct-met-gmo-food-labeling--20110524,0,5841902.story.

Whether they are carcinogenic or not, to me, trace amounts means the existence of a substance.  You would no more stick your finger in an insecticide, wipe it off on your pants then lick your finger with your tongue.  Yet in essence, that is what you do when you eat conventional food from the industrial food complex. 

If you think washing the food off before eating it protects you, think about rain.  These chemicals are designed to stay on the vegetables when it rains.  The effectiveness of the chemical would be useless to the industrial farmer if rain did wash them off.  Organic sprays are water soluble, that is why each time it rains we need to retreat those plants that are in distress (raising operational costs).

If we know anything from the use of chemicals, it is that history proves that what was once considered safe is no longer the case, Thalidomide, Agent Orange, Benzene's, DDT, Diethylstilbestrol, Cyclamates, Bisphenal A, Diactyl, and Phthalates (cosmetics) are some.  So what, if from a vitamin standpoint both conventional and organic are the same.  From a health, safety, cost and environmental standpoint there is no comparison.

 Buy Local: The earth will be a better place,

Tags:
 
 
RSS feed for Miolea Organic Farm blog. Right-click, copy link and paste into your newsfeed reader

Calendar


Search


Navigation


Topics


Feeds


BlogRoll